25

I found the same situation, living in China for quite some time, and unlike some other people who have answered, I understand exactly what you're asking. It was quite annoying to try to learn new words when the native speaker just tells you the meaning of 3 characters together and doesn't know or can't explain each character's meaning. I think the answer is ...


20

I took the CEDICT file and wrote a script on it. The file has 113k dictionary entries, so it covers a very large portion of the Chinese vocabulary. There are 1522 different pinyin syllables in CEDICT, when you distinguish tone numbers (like, ma1, ma2, ma3, ma4, ma). If you do not care about tone numbers, you'll get 413 syllables (ma, mo, mi, etc.) Here's ...


20

「在」in「你在笑什麽」is not equivalent to English at in what are you laughing at?. To demonstrate by analogy: 你在吃什麽 - what are you eating? 你在做什麽 - what are you doing? 「在」is actually equivalent to the suffix -ing in laughing, eating, doing. It is English which grammatically requires something as a target for the verb laughing; this requirement is redundant in ...


17

高兴 means glad, a temporary state of mind. E.g: I'm glad it's sunny today -- 今天是晴天, 我很高兴. 快乐 means happy, and I agree it's the only one in the list that can be used for festivals. E.g. 节日快乐 (happy holiday). 我很快乐 (I'm very happy -- in this case same as 高兴). 愉快 means pleasant. That's why you see it used with "weekend" -- have a pleasant weekend = 周末愉快. It's ...


15

Interesting, but this is a coincidence. Baby comes from a reduplicated Proto-Germanic root *bō-, which is cognate to English boy, appended with a diminutive suffix -y. 寶貝 comes from the meaning rare/precious seashells; this usage is attested at least since the Han dynasty. As a term of endearment, this started appearing as early as in the novel Dream of ...


14

Most languages use an alternate greeting for telephone calls; the English "hello", although originating from before the telephone, was popularised by it, so much so that it has become a common greeting outside the telephone: hello 1883, alt. of hallo (1840), itself an alt. of holla, hollo, a shout to attract attention, first recorded 1588. Perhaps ...


14

To understand the differences properly, you need to know what is 面 and what is 边. 面 is a face whereas 边 is an edge. An edge is like a line guiding you the direction. A face is what is facing you giving you a sense of position. 前/后面 is used to describe the position of something within your visual range. Whereas, 前/后边 is more appropriately used to describe ...


14

This question is really about: " when can we omit the possessive 的 " 的 1.(adjective suffix): For example: 强大勇敢 (strong and brave) 强大勇敢的人 (strong and brave man) You cannot omit the adjective suffix 的 and write 强大勇敢人 高大 (tall and big) 高大的人 (tall and big man) You cannot omit the adjective suffix 的 and write 高大人 Adjectives that do not need ...


13

Chinese characters and phonetics You say: Unlike English, Chinese is not a spelling language, which means there is no hint from the characters for pronunciation!!! Luckily for us, that's not true! Actually, by some estimates, almost 90% of characters have a phonetic component to them. To understand what that actually means, you have to know how characters ...


13

I'm not sure where you could get an accurate count for how many there are. Considering that loanwords have been coming into Chinese for thousands of years, it definitely won't be a trivial task. There is certainly quite a few, however, not all of which is current/widespread/universal. I'll list some here, and edit more in if I think of any later: Angel: ...


13

It means one of these dogs wears a red sweater. ...里 literally means in/among ..., and it is followed by 有一只, which means there is one. Hence the whole sentence translates literally as Among these dogs there is one wearing a red sweater.


13

No, you should use 省会 (provincial capital) instead, i.e. 哈尔滨是黑龙江的省会. You could also use 省城 (in a little old-style), or 首府 (especially for 自治区(autonomous region)). 首都 is only used for the capital of a country, e.g.北京是中国的首都.


12

I think the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin is more like the difference between English and Swedish. They are obviously very closely related and share a lot of vocabulary, but intelligibility is pretty much zero. The poster who compared the difference to American and British English is TOTALLY wrong. Many Mandarin speakers will claim that they can ...


12

For people who tell me they "don't get" the tones, or who can say them but quickly forget them, I usually explain them as listed below. I imagine you're well past this point, but the visuals might help remembering them: 1st tone: Sing it -- ♪ 2nd tone: Like a yes/no question -- ? 3rd tone: Low, creaky. -- Still can't think of a good symbol >_< 4th tone: ...


12

What the online community thinks From Baidu 百科: 准确读音 xià zài   “下载”这个词,规范读音按照现代汉语词典、现代汉语规范词典等权威字典的标注应为“xià zài”。随着电脑的普及,这个词使用的频率越来越高,但可惜的是绝大多数人一开口就是从网上“xià zǎi”,就连播音员、主持人也读“xià zǎi”,如央视的晚间新闻在播送“网络侵权BT下载”时就读成“xià zǎi”。可以说电台、电视台的播音员、节目主持人对“xià zǎi”这个错误的读音起了推波助澜的作用。就目前的趋势来看,要推广“下载”的正确读音已非常困难,已经习非成是了。这些现象给人一种感觉,好像电台、电视台的播音员、节目主持人的发音很随意,...


12

Reference Materials about the differences between / origins of the 2 confusing words: from online newspaper - 光明网 conclusion in translation: one should use "待在" to express "to stay" from research materials - 中国知网 a Chinese blog containing the full-text of "中国知网" paper conclusion in translation: the 2 Chinese characters are different in meaning it's ...


12

Overall both translations are fine and fluent, with some small issues below: Grammatical/Syntactic issues: I think there is only one issue, in (2) 我们想酒保因为要省钱的. Either use 要省钱 as verb (i.e. remove 的), or use 要省钱的 as adjective (i.e. add 是 before 要). Semantic issues: In (1), margarita mix is translated into 玛格丽特混合物. In Chinese, people don't refer food/drink ...


12

If you're only going one week, just learn some Mandarin. The advantages of learning Mandarin is that there are a lot of free resources, cheap and useful phrase books, and most people you will run into will understand Mandarin. I've been studying Minnanhua (spoken in Fujian and pretty much mutually intelligible with Taiwanese) for about a year and I ...


12

“坏” is a very general word meaning something "useless", but what makes the thing "坏了" has many reasons, and “破了” is one of them, so when something's state is “破了”, you can also say something is “坏了”;However “破” means something is broken or has cracks. So when you describe something that is useless because of inner reasons such as quality, but it still looks ...


12

It is Amis/Pangcah (阿美族語), the language of one of the Taiwanese aborigines (台灣原住民). 阿ㄘㄟˊ ( ā céi ) means "ridiculous; crazy; unreasonable; nonsense; goofy; outrageous; nuts". 阿ㄘㄟˊ: You are nuts! Similar phrases include 瘋了, 笨蛋, 不可理喻, 無理取鬧, 無稽之談, 胡說八道......


11

Tones Unless the name has a really old and/or well-known phonetic translation, a "safe" rule seems to be to pick characters pronounced in the 1st tone. This is particularly true for names that are either long, uncommon, or otherwise tongue-twisting (as far as Chinese speakers are concerned anyway). Male vs Female Certain characters convey masculinity (e.g....


11

You're right, most foreign words are transliterated differently in Mandarin and in Cantonese. Sometimes there are even different standards in different Mandarin speaking regions. It's an interesting idea to use characters that have similar pronunciations in both dialects to unify the transliteration but it's not what has already happened. A few examples of ...


11

Here's my take on it. 更好 = "even better." For example, X很好。Y更好。= "X is good. Y is even better." This comparison could be over time too: X已经很好,现在更好了 = "X was already good, now it's even better." 比较好 = "better", without an implication that the object of comparison was/is already good. So, it's acceptable to say X不怎么样,Y比较好。= "X kind of sucks, Y is better" ...


11

So time for an update… If you want to play by the books, biang is not a permissible syllable. If you are concerned with what comes out of a speaker’s mouth, syllables like nim (contraction of 你們) are even possible, although they are technically surface realizations of a phonology that does not allow such syllables. The surprising fact is that iang as a ...


11

在 and 中 are serving two different functions here. The preposition 在 at the start of the sentence indicates where something happens. Meanwhile, the 中 here is technically a noun meaning "the inside", not "middle". It signifies that the link is opened on a new tab page, i.e. *the inside of a tab page". Taken as a whole, then, the Chinese sentence is actually ...


11

Same as English just without the for. 谢谢 + what. "thank you for the gift" = 谢谢 + 礼物 - maybe you would say 你送给我的礼物 or just 你的礼物 "you for inviting me for dinner" = 谢谢 + 邀请 + 晚餐 - so altogether you would say 谢谢你那天邀请我吃晚饭 (which is for what already happened - seeing as you're writing a card, so obviously you're thanking for the dinner you've already eaten and ...


11

As Maroon points out in a comment, you have to say which dialect you are asking about. This answer is for Standard Chinese, aka Mandarin. It also depends on what sort of stuff you include. Counting the distinct lines in the syllable index of the Pinyin Chinese-English Dictionary, I get 420 "lines" but this includes some very marginal stuff such as tei, kei,...


11

There have been conflicting claims on whether the second tone and the "raised third tone" are distinct, but according to Jerry Norman's 1988 book, Chinese, "Perceptual tests done by Dreher and Lee (1966) and Wang and Li (1967) established that native speakers are unable to make a consistent distinction between second tones and raised third tones" (147). So ...


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